“Why does the Chief of Staff want to attack?” asks Uri Avnery, who morphed over the years from a member of the Israeli paramilitary Irgun to a peace activity, in a widely posted op-ed.
What? Iran? No, writes, Avnery. Because of the “catastrophic, even apocalyptic” economic consequences, Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz “knows that he cannot have it.”
It’s Gaza he wants to attack. Why? How about … to “compel Hamas to become extremist again.” It seems that Hamas is just not holding up its end of the bargain as an enemy. Avnery writes:
Hamas is being accepted by the international community. Their Prime Minister, Isma’il Haniyeh, is now traveling around the Arab and Muslim world, after being shut in Gaza – a kind of Strip-arrest – for four years. Now he can cross into Egypt because the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization, has become a major player there.
By joining the PLO, [Hamas chief Khaled Mash'al] is committing Hamas to the Oslo agreements and all the other official deals between Israel and the PLO. He has announced that Hamas accepts a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. He has let it be known that Hamas would not contest the Palestinian presidency this year, so that the Fatah candidate – whoever that may be – would be elected practically unopposed and be able to negotiate with Israel.
By removing the reasons to attack it, Hamas is pulling the rug out from under Israeli calls for Cast Lead II. It’s always a sad day for an army when it loses an enemy, especially one it knows it can engage without unleashing World War III.